Shadow of the Tomb Raider is an action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective; players take on the role of Lara Croft as she explores environments across the continents of Central and South America. In addition to standalone areas, the game has a large hub in the Hidden City of Paititi. A new barter system allows players to trade and sell various resources gathered from the areas surrounding Paititi.
There are numerous adjustments made to gameplay, which is otherwise identical to Rise of the Tomb Raider. The controls for swimming have been revised, as Lara is able to hold her breath underwater for a longer period of time due to the introduction of air pockets. She has the ability to rappel down a cliff using her climbing axe and rope. Stealth is important, as Lara can disengage from combat when she escapes from enemies’ line of sight by camouflaging herself in mud, hiding in bushes or blending into densely vegetated surfaces.
Like its predecessors, the game allows players to hunt wild animals, craft materials using resources collected, solve puzzles and seek out optional tombs and side quests. The game features larger tombs and more complex puzzles compared to previous instalments in the reboot series. Players have the option to tailor their gameplay experience as exploration, puzzles and combat have their own difficulty settings. An Immersion Mode enables players to hear the background conversations of the locals in their native languages; when turned off the conversations are heard in the players’ chosen voice over language.